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Administration - Land Use and Planning
Town Planning and Housing

Department of Town Planning and Housing

The Department of Town Planning and Housing is a government department under the Ministry of Interior.  Its main scope of operation concerns urban and spatial planning.  The Department is made up of three major Sections, those of Housing, Planning and Development Control.

The Housing Section undertakes the planning, design and management of public housing, at present almost exclusively serving refugees displaced by the 1974 Turkish invasion.  The Development Control Section functions as the higher central Planning Authority of the country; it includes the Sectors of Plan Implementation and Planning Enforcement, and provides the administrative umbrella for five of the nation's nine independent Local Planning Authorities (District Offices).  The Planning Section consists of various policy and project-oriented Sectors, such as those of Regional and Transportation Planning.  The Department also includes the Sectors of Preservation and Planning Schemes, as well as supporting administration, while it provides personnel and advice to the Nicosia Master Plan, a bi-communal institution involving both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities of the divided capital.

The Planning System in Cyprus

A three-tier hierarchy of development plans is based on the concepts of the “Island Plan,” which refers to the national territory and the regional distribution of resources and development opportunities, the “Local Plan,” which refers to major urban areas or areas undergoing intensive development pressures and rapid changes, and the “Area Scheme,” at the lower end of the hierarchy.  Area Schemes refer to areas of a smaller scale and are more detailed and specifically project oriented, gradually becoming indispensable tools for addressing sustainability issues and enabling the implementation of planning policy.

A set of regulations based on the Streets and Buildings Law, controlling setbacks, access, drainage etc., as well as uniform standards of construction, including earthquake and fire safety requirements, are commonly applied to all new development.  Furthermore, in areas within Local Plans published under the Town and Country Planning Law, locally specific sets of provisions and guidelines govern a series of factors, including building height, volume and density, the subdivision of land, provision of public amenities, parking requirements, interventions in sensitive historic areas etc.

Land and Surveys

Department of Lands and Surveys

The Department of Lands and Surveys of the Ministry of Interior is the oldest and one of the largest departments of the Republic of Cyprus.  Its role and responsibility have been of immense importance, particularly in operating the Cyprus Land Registration systems. It has been managing the major land matters of Cyprus regarding surveying –including maintenance of the state survey infrastructure–, mapping, investigation into title, registration, conveyance, valuations, conservation and management of State Lands, compulsory acquisition/requisitions and encumbrances.

It administers statutes providing services for the property rights of individuals effectively and efficiently within a unified coordinated structure, with distinct branches in Tenure, Registration, Valuation, Management of State Lands, Survey, Cartography and Administration. It is also the Official Service for the compilation, production and issue of maps and plans for which the state copyright is reserved.

The Registration Services for immovable property are simple, quick and effective and ensure completion of declarations on the same day.

The Land Registration System and Cadastre operating in Cyprus today were introduced almost a century ago.  The Land Registration System is the Registration of Title system, which is based on a series of cadastral plans of varying scale and accuracy, most of them being graphical.

Although the system has all the advantages of the Registration of Title system, it has been found deficient to the highly demanding requirements of the rapid development of the country. Hence, the need was felt for the creation of a system, which will allow each parcel to be marked on the ground rapidly, efficiently and without ambiguity. The system proposed by foreign consultants can be described as a Fixed Boundary Coordinated Cadastre, as the coordinates are given a strong emphasis in the cadastral definition, and they will subsequently be used for future boundary demarcation.  This constitutes the main objective of the Resurvey Project currently planned and executed by the Department.

The Land Information System of Cyprus

The Department of Lands and Surveys has already implemented an integrated Land Information System (LIS) to serve the needs of the Department and the needs of other organisations and departments, which use land related data.  The Cyprus LIS project is an umbrella programme covering basically four groups of activities:

a.  The systematic cadastral resurvey of the country

b.  The computerisation of land records and cadastral plans

c. Development of a number of computerised systems to support and automate the activities of the Department of Lands and Surveys

d.  The establishment, in the long term, of a national LIS

The LIS was officially accepted in 1999 and it is currently used in a production environment.  At the same time many projects have been initiated for collecting and preparing the data that populate the LIS databases.

National Land Information System

The Department of Land and Surveys operates partially on a manual and partially on a computerised basis a graphical multipurpose cadastre.  The Department records a considerable amount of land related data. Cadastral plans are widely used as a fundamental graphic record by a wide range of agencies. Information about development, utilities, land use, water resources, geology, and even statistical data for population, industry, agriculture and planning, are recorded on, or closely related to the cadastral plans.

The Government of Cyprus, through the Department of Lands and Surveys, implemented a system to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Departmental activities taking advantage of available information technology and modern cost effective survey instrumentation and techniques.

The general strategic objective of the country is the establishment of fixed boundary coordinated cadastral system after a systematic resurvey the computerisation of the land records, cadastral plans, and topographical maps, the development of a number of computerised systems to support the survey, registration, valuation and management functions of the Department and the staged development and implementation of a National Land Information System (LIS), where all agencies with land related activities can share available data for the benefit of the economy of the country.

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